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Simple Lab Tests Could Predict Risk Of Fatal Kidney Disease

A new study in the May issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology says that routine blood and urine tests could help// in predicting the risk of developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) between middle age and old age.

The study, which was led by Dr. Areef Ishani of Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, found that an abnormal result on the urine "dipstick" test, which detects protein in urine, could identify the presence of any risk for developing ESRD. The current study used data on 13,000 men enrolled in a long-term study of cardiovascular disease prevention. The study, which started in 1972-75, had participants who were at high risk for developing heart disease, but did not actually have it. Follow-up data through 1999 was used to track if there were any tests, which could predict the risk of developing ESRD. In the duration of the study, 1.7 percent of the men developed ESRD or died of kidney disease. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was also used to predict the high risk of developing ESRD. The risk was on the higher side when both urine and blood tests were abnormal. Factors like age, smoking, blood pressure, low levels of high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol, and blood sugar (glucose) level were also used to predict the risk. "Both tests are very easy to perform, and are commonly done in clinical practice," said Dr. Ishani. "Future studies can determine whether intervening on these factors can prevent the development of ESRD."

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